Port authority closes on fair barn loan

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, July 31, 2012

County reimbursed for its portion of project


ROME TOWNSHIP — The county has gotten back the $400,000 it borrowed to cover the original costs of building the new barn at the county fairgrounds. The barn was used for the first time at this summer’s 4-H Junior Fair.

In June the county commissioners authorized the county port authority to borrow $700,000 to pay the county for the money it borrowed for the project and the final contractor for the barn.

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It also authorized the transfer of the fairgrounds’ title to the port authority, which entered into a lease-buyback agreement with the fair board.

Last week the port authority closed on the loan it made with Ohio River Bank. Terms were 3.3 percent interest over a 20-year period.

“Everything was done at closing,” Dr. Bill Dingus, director of Lawrence Economic Development Corp., said. “Everything is resolved.”

Commissioner Freddie Hayes also confirmed that the latest contractor for the barn, Rolo Construction of Proctorville, has also received his money.

“Everybody has been paid,” Hayes said. “It’s all done. They got it the same day they closed the loan.”

Originally, the fair board sought financing for the project through the county, when the commissioners, acting as the board’s fiscal agent, borrowed $400,000 from PNC Bank at 2.99 percent a year interest over a 10-year period.

That money was placed in a county account out of which the commission paid bills for the project at the instruction of the fair board.

Structure Steel of Canton was the first contractor for the project that was to cost $400,000. However, delays on erecting the barn and claims that the Canton company was sent $200,000 the fair board said it was not entitled to prompted the board to terminate that contract.

To counter that termination Structure Steel filed a lawsuit against the fair board claiming it is owed that money.

To pay the new contractor, an additional $300,000 was requested by the fair board.

The fair board has taken approximately $400,000 in pledges that will be paid to the port authority and used to cover the loan and buy back the fairgrounds.

The board is also seeking additional pledges, as well as recovering the $200,000 in contention from Structure Steel, to cover the additional $300,000.

“The county was out $400,000 to help in this situation and now the county has been paid back,” Commission President Les Boggs said.